Date: 12/28/12, 12/29/12 & 12/31/12
Line-up:Rebelution & The Expendables
Location: House of Blues. San Diego, CA & The Palladium. Hollywood, CA
As one year came to an end, a new one began in proper musical style. Each year, the New Year’s festivities are what we all look forward to. All across the globe, communities came together to ring in the New Year, but at San Diego, California’s House of Blues music lovers were in store for the Reggae-Rock community’s top-tier touring machines, Rebelution and The Expendables. However, prior to the final seconds of 2012, the California reggae duo put on a two-night extravaganza, which had its first night opened to be an all age’s show. With all ages present for the first night, from a son attending his first show with his dad, taking the first of many reggae concerts to veterans of the music scene.
An easy way to tell you’re in for a great night is a line wrapped around the block just prior to doors opening on either night. Just as soon as the first few people were allowed to enter, in a flash the House of Blues began to reach capacity. Before long, The Expendables jump onstage to a resounding ovation and cheers from the excitable San Diego crowd. Gracing the stage with a heavy punk rock sound fused with reggae undertones, an early mosh pit of rambunctious fans floated in the center of the floor.
The Expendables, a headliner in their own right, took the entire crowd by storm. Geoff Weers (lead singer/guitarist) was up front and center, leading the crowd in psalm. Just a few songs into their set, The Expendables commanded the entire floor. A delight to all, songs from The Expendables full catologue energized the crowd. Songs such as “Minimum Wage, “Sacrifice” and “24/7” were belting through the venue’s sound system. With Adam Patterson (Drums/Vocals) having the spotlight shine brightly on a few fan favorites, The Expendables balance their live performance perfectly. To further display their musical talents, songs would carry from a heavy metal rift, only to be broken down into a soft acoustic version. “Gone Soft” an early 2012 release by The Expendables, gave everyone a different taste of their diverse musical background. Effortless transitions carried the Santa Cruz quartet from their intro to their crowd favorites “Down, Down, Down” and “Bowl for Two”, all the way to their finale. Not to say fans were pleased The Expendables’ set came to a close, but Rebelution was the anticipatory headlining act for the back-to-back nights in San Diego.
The cheers and applause rang throughout the double-layered House of Blues as Rebelution graced the stage. From the reserved seating upstairs, to the ground floor pit fans were all smiles as their band picked up their instrument. No matter where your seats were for the night, you were in for a great night from two of California’s best reggae-rockers.
To energize the crowd immediately, Rebelution took the stage and right away began turning out music from all of their albums. With a quick “Gangster Beat into”, a heavy rock instrumental that transitioned into “Sky Is The Limit”. The entire venue started to sing word for word along with Rebelution’s front man Eric Rachmany. As an added bonus for Rebelution’s live performances over the past two years, Khris Royal from New Orleans’s Dark Matter (Jazz/Funk) has been filling out Rebelution’s robust studio and live sound. A straight up Jazz player by trade, the addition of Kkris boasts various instruments, mainly the saxophone, ewi (electric wind instrument) keyboards and percussions, only adding the bands live show sound.
The Pier got a chance to ask Khris what was most memorable about the San Diego shows, which he replied “It’s great to see people of all ages at the show. You see that a lot at Rebelution shows. You can find young kids, college kids, and even someone’s grandma! To be the first concert that someone may experience and leave an impact on them is always a blast.”
Crowd favorites, “Attention Span” and “Lazy Afternoon”, kept everyone singing every single word. Making sure that no one was falling behind, Eric Rachmany (lead singer/guitarist), would chant out to the crowd, and await their response. “Waaaayooo, waaayoo, yoo yoo” echoed throughout the entire House of Blues. The energy continuing to climb as Eric welcomed Oguer “OG” Ocun (Slightly Stoopid’s percussionist) on stage to add another layer to the songs “Comfort Zone” and “Suffering”. The eclectic mixture of sounds, saxophone and bongos, only added to Rebelution’s core California reggae-rock sound. Just as the energy reached the roof, the tempo slowed down with track “Suffering”. The pace was highly driven by Rebelution’s short song intros, and carried through with a long dub outro.
To put San Diego in the right state of mind, Rebelution played music off of their newest album Peace of Mind, leading in with “So High”. For those who voted for The Pier’s 2012 awards, Peace of Mind was voted album of the year, and for good reason too. During their liver performances, Rebelution incorporated all three of their most recent albums into their live show. One moment the band could be playing a standard electric song, much like the studio version, then conclude with an extended heavy dub infused jam to finish the song, before taking a moment to pick up an acoustic guitar and strum the opening chords of “Good Vibes”.
For San Diego, a local special guest Evan Hawkins (Through The Roots’ lead singer/guitarist) took to stage for his feature with Rebelution, to add his special touch to the musical explosion that occurred at the House of Blues. Just as Evan graced the stage for a short moment, he took his bow and we were again greeted with OG (Slightly Stoopid). With so many familiar artists to the San Diego reggae scene, even Tony-Ray Jacobo (keyboard/producer) of Tribal Seeds was in attendance.
Rebelution rocking at full steam ahead took a step back to mellow the vibe. The lights dimmed down solely to focus on Eric, as he did an acoustic intro into “Feeling Alright” from the bands first full-length release album “Courage To Grow”. Released back in the summer of 2007, every fan in the building still knew every single lyric like they were reading the lyrics straight from Rachmany’s lyrical notepad. Pausing for a moment, the entire band kicked back into full gear midway through the second verse. Khris Royal and Eric Rachmany immediately faced toe to toe. showcasing each others musical talent, saxophone vs. guitar. After battling it out before the crowd, releasing every ounce of energy, Rebelution took their curtain call. Although, it wasn’t long before the crowd filled the silence with nearly unending chants for an encore!
San Diego chanted in unison, “ONE MORE SONG, ONE MORE SONG!…” Not a single person would even move an inch until they received their encore. Taking just a short break, the entire band returned to once again pick up their instruments. A huge uproar rushed through the entire House of Blues as their wish of an encore was being fulfilled. Eric Rachmany had to ask his fans “Do you want more music?! Then let me see yours bands in the air!” A sea of everything from peace signs, shakas and first pumps shot up towards the ceiling. Again, the venue danced their night away and continued on as the band started back up with “Outta Control”. Another face off between Eric on lead guitar and Marley Willams on bass put the last Friday of the year to rest. Not leaving of course without shaking the fans of everyone in the front row.
Wesley Finley (Drummer) took his drum sticks and threw them as far as he could. Graciously the entire band left San Diego in awe of their commanding musical talents and stage presence. After the show The Pier ran into Wesley and asked him about throwing his sticks into the crowd. Is this something that you tend to do at every show? “Yes, I always end up breaking them almost at every show. This way a fan has something to take with them from the show.” Were you surprised to see so many Santa Barbara fans in the house? “Every time we do a show in our home state we get a lot of fans from all over. It’s hard for people to travel from East to West, but when we come to San Diego, it’s almost like a hometown show. It’s great to play a show where everyone responds back to the vibe and energy.”
Rebelution and The Expendables rang in the New Year early for San Diego. For anyone that didn’t get to catch them on either night, fear not both bands made the trek up to Hollywood for a New Year’s Eve showcase at the world famous Palladium on Sunset Boulevard. Both The Expendables and Rebelution brought their tag team reggae-rock showcase to the heart of Los Angeles, along with local support The Expanders and DJ Unite (featured on the 2011 Seedless Summer Tour).
Not only was it a special night, as 2012 came to a close, but Rebelution headlined the show with an added bonus to their live set as two extra horn players boasted the brass sound next to Khris Royal. With five current touring members performing as Rebelution, another saxophone and trumpet player flanked Royal stage left. Rebelution has one of the fullest sounds of any touring band in the reggae-rock community, but with seven members present at the Hollywood Palladium, this particular show might have been the best Rebelution has ever sounded.
On a night that wrapped up the 2012 calendar year, Rebelution performed two more new songs as a sneak peak at what the Santa Barbara based band has in store for fans in 2013. After being awarded with The Pier’s Album of the Year, as well as being honored with iTuens Best Crossover Album of 2012, Rebelution might have been the best American Reggae band, looking to elevate their performance in 2013, the capacity crowd on New Years Eve received the first taste of what’s to come in the future!
Rebelution Set List (12/28/12)
Gangster Beat Intro
Sky Is The Limit
Closer I Get
Meant To Be
Safe & Sound (Short Intro, Long Outro)
Otherside (Big Poppa interlude)
From The Window
So High – Feat. Evan Hawkins (Through The Roots)
Wake Up Call
Bright Side Of Life
(Intro) Green To Black
Article By: Edgar Gaytan & Kris Siuta
Photos By: Johann David
Check out MORE photos from the show!!!